How we learned to stop resisting gravitational pull
By August March
From left, Leeches of Lore and Jonathan Richman
Courtesy of artists
“Ancient holy wars/ Dead religions, holocausts/ New regimes, old ideas/ That's now myth, that's now real/ Original sin, genetic fate/ Revolutions, spinning plates/ It's important to stay informed/ The commentary to comment on/ Oh, and no one ever really knows you and life is brief/ So I've heard, but what's that gotta do with this black hole in me?”—“Holy Shit” by Father John Misty (Josh Tillman) from the album I Love You, Honeybear
Holy shit, it is all coming true before our collective eyes. But if all this chaos and change has you feeling like there’s a black hole residing at the bottom of your soul, take heart. Music may be able to assuage the calamities you perceive, so give it a chance, and let your weekly concert experiences lead you away from a hipster’s inevitable disillusion and toward what’s really real.
Friday, Pt. I
From left, Hillary Smith and Chris Dracup
Courtesy of artists
Friday, Feb. 13, is a great night to check out local music with gigs by two diverse sets of Burque-based tunesters—temporally spaced out in such a way that makes it totally possible to catch both acts and thereby extend your groovy headspace to epic proportions.
First, Vernon’s Hidden Valley Steak House (6855 Fourth Street NW) features the soulful sounds of guitarist Chris Dracup and vocalist Hillary Smith. Dracup built his career here in New Mexico on his strength as a guitarist in the seminal new wave band The Muttz; his transformation into a blues maniac of prodigious talent and outrageous output is notable for both acoustic clarity and unbeatable, chop-tastic delivery. Smith, a native of Hobbs, N.M., whose gospel-derived, classically trained vocalizations have garnered international airplay, combines forces with Dracup in a sublime duo. The show begins at 7:30pm, and admission is free if you buy a steak.
When you’ve had your fill of that mellifluous mélange, head over to Launchpad (618 Central SW) for a performance by storied Burque country/noise/metal band Leeches of Lore. Leeches makes a kind of music that is definitively dark yet boisterously buoyant. Steve Hammond, Noah Wolters and Andy Lutz aka Leeches of Lore are unlike anything else happening here in Albuquerque; that’s assuming you’re not someone who regularly listens to the universe exploding at full volume while watching a Shriners Parade traipse through the decaying State Fairgrounds in the midst of an awfully hot summer. Russian Girlfriends and Rock Jong Il begin the night’s veritable carnival of sounds. Tickets are a very affordable eight bones. The Launchpad’s airlocks open at 8pm, and liftoff commences at 9:30pm.
On Saturday, Feb. 14, folks celebrate a thing called Valentine’s Day. In the heartfelt spirit of such arcane and sentimental rejoicing, Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) presents a Heart and Tarts Valentine’s Party featuring a variety of local bands virtually guaranteed to influence your thrashy, post-club coital potential.
Texylvania is a witchy, sexy outfit originally from El Lay—featuring Manic Panic spokesperson Sherry Rubber and death-rock O.G. Patrick FK—that has come to call Burque home. Erotically dark and inimitably rocking, this turned-on duo combines rockabilly rowdiness with gothic glamour for a sound and spectacle that engenders excitement and encourages free (albeit coffin-aware) aural love. The group headlines a heart-shaped lineup that also includes Shitty and the Terribles, a garage-punk outfit that bears only a passing resemblance to early aughts Burque punk-prophets Icky and the Yucks.
Shitty hopes your romantic expectations present absolutely no correlation with their moniker. They nonetheless plan to whip all lovers into an ecstastic frenzy with their poignant, punk rock creations. Best You/Best Me provides opening symbolism of what we expect from our partners on Valentine’s Day. This 21-plus show is coverless, and it begins at 8pm.
Jonathan Richman—he of roadrunners, the astral plane and a dignified, rocking old age—makes an appearance at Launchpad (618 Central SW) on Wednesday, Feb. 18. Longtime collaborator/drummer Tommy Larkins joins in on the fun.
In case you are interested, Richman was one of the dudes who invented punk rock while playing in a band called The Modern Lovers. Along with bandmates Jerry Harrison (who went on to play keys in Talking Heads) and David Robinson (a drummer who joined up with American new wave progenitors The Cars after his tenure in Richman’s ensemble), The Modern Lovers are responsible for the plaintive, pronounceably defiant yet emotionally explosive aesthetic that defined a new direction in rocanrol music in the mid-to-late 1970s.
Revered but by no means static, a constantly touring Richman and his loyal cohort and awesome percussionist Larkins have done their utmost in 30 years’ time to demonstrate the relevance and timelessness of the former’s contribution to rocanrol music. And they’ve done a damn fine job of it, filling houses with the curious, the dazed and the grateful. Tickets for this historic, all-ages extravaganza are $12 in advance and $15 on the night of the event. The doors to said astral plane open wide at 8pm.
So, yeah it turns that out life is brief. That’s no myth. And what better reason is there to go out and experience all the music available in our town? I personally can’t think of a better reason ... especially given the gravitas of the present.